Readers in Miami-Dade are likely aware of the importance of careful estate planning to avoid problems with estate administration down the road. What readers may not know, however, is that if multiple changes are made to a will, particularly within a brief amount of time, or there are questions regarding a person’s mental state at the time a will is drafted, there can be issues with the probate process.
Questions have been raised in the probate of one man’s property and assets because family members reportedly claim one of the man’s friends took advantage of him. They suggest this friend influenced him to make financial decisions, as well as estate and will planning decisions, which benefited himself and not the deceased. They suggest he convinced the man to spend the vast majority of a large financial settlement he had received in a real estate fraud lawsuit and to disinherit other heirs and name him the sole beneficiary to the man’s estate.
The family reportedly claims the man was not mentally competent to make such decisions; a claim that is backed up by an examination of the deceased that was conducted by a psychologist during the real estate lawsuit. A judge may consider these findings when deciding whether or not the man was mentally competent to make the decisions the friend claims he made regarding his finances and estate. While the attorney representing the man’s friend has purportedly attempted to reach a settlement outside of litigation, the family claims they only want justice for the deceased having been taken advantage of.
Consulting with an attorney can help you to stave off problems with the administration of your estate, so whatever your wishes are, they are carried out. A lawyer will also be able to address any concerns that you may have.
Source: Journal Sentinel, “Even in death, bachelor farmer’s valuable land stirs legal battle”, Annysa Johnson, Aug. 31, 2013